People release balloons as they celebrate a bar mitzva near the Western Wall.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
A FEW months before we made aliya, I received a phone call from one of the fabulous organizers at our Jewish school in Johannesburg, South Africa. Effervescent and full of joy as always, Cheryl’s smiley voice rang through the receiver, “Benita-la, I just want to confirm the date for Lirani’s bar mitzva.”I started to laugh, not because of the affectionate way Cheryl always changed every person’s name into something diminutive and cute, but because our son was only 10 years old at the time! Before I could articulate the fact that I hadn’t quite got down to dates, venues and seating arrangements, Cheryl continued in her inimitable, maternal way, “And I know you’re making aliya, my love, but trust me, it’s better to have a date booked in South Africa anyway. You simply never know what can happen in three years – it might be difficult for older relatives to travel… you might want to all be together in South Africa – you just never know, Benit-sie.”